I will respond to the three policies outlined in the pledge in turn.
Firstly, abortion on the grounds of sex alone is illegal and I am glad that the Government guidance for doctors on how to comply with the Act makes this clear. The UK Government has no plans to revise the 24-week time limit for abortion. However, Parliament can propose any changes to the law on abortion. In those circumstances, I am glad that the Government would take a neutral stance and allow Members to vote according to their conscience.
I am saddened to hear about findings that many women experience discrimination during pregnancy, maternity leave or after maternity leave. Under employment law, employers are required to provide minimum employment rights, including maternity leave and pay. The Government also plans to bring forward an Employment Bill, which will include proposals to make flexible working the default in workplaces.
I know that making a decision regarding abortion can be extremely difficult, and I believe that we must do all we can to support women to make an informed decision, taking into consideration all their options, with medical professionals offering impartial advice.
As a member of the Government, I am unable to sign any such pledge due to obligations of collective responsibility.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this important issue.